Posts Tagged ‘Team Captain’

Blake Wheeler knows the Winnipeg Jets still have plenty of work to do as the season winds down.

Even after a hard-fought comeback win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, and despite a very successful regular season to date, the Jets captain emphatically stated it’s far too early to consider his team to be Stanley Cup contenders.

“I just think that we’ve got to pump the brakes here a little bit,” he said after the game. “We’re talking Stanley Cup contender, we haven’t even made the f—ing playoffs yet. We’re building this up a bit bigger than it is. We’re just trying to get better every single game.”

Wheeler added it’s difficult to avoid hearing how heightened the expectations are in a small market like Winnipeg, especially after the team has posted a record of 33-15-9 and sits second in the competitive Central Division.

“That’s what makes this a special place to play,” Wheeler continued. “But this is an organization that has never won a playoff game. So we’re working on changing that culture every single day.

Wheeler, of course, has been part of the organization dating back to late in the Atlanta days. He’s seen the Jets appear in only four playoff games since moving to Winnipeg, resulting in four losses to Anaheim back in 2015.

He’s keeping expectations in check, but not making the playoffs or going four-and-out would seem to be a great disappointment for the up-and-coming Jets.

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With his franchise player set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow doesn’t appear to be entertaining the thought of making a preemptive move.

“I’m not trading John Tavares,” Snow said Thursday to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

The Islanders are in a precarious position, sitting a single point out of a playoff spot but with three teams to leap in order to secure one.

Their chances would be greatly diminished if Snow concluded they can’t risk allowing Tavares to leave as a free agent without gaining assets in return, but he’s prepared to wait it out in the hopes that the captain will re-sign prior to July 1, or even after weighing his options on the open market.

The Islanders are set to build a new arena in Belmont and will split games between Barclays Center and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the meantime, with Tavares remaining in their plans as the main attraction.

Move over, Jaromir. Next up, Mario.

Sidney Crosby moved past Jaromir Jagr and into sole possession of second place on the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ all-time points list when he set up Dominik Simon‘s first-period goal against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.

It was Crosby’s 1,080th career point in his 833rd game with the Penguins. Jagr racked up 1,079 in 806 contests in Pittsburgh.

Mario Lemieux is the Penguins’ all-time points leader, having amassed 1,723 in 915 games.

Crosby is also on the verge of another milestone, currently sitting on 399 career goals.

He added two more assists after his milestone helper as the Penguins doubled up the Wild 6-3 on Thursday.

They’re not ready to retire yet folks.

At age 37 and in the last year of their contracts, it looks like Henrik and Daniel Sedin are poised for another NHL season.

“It sounds like Henrik and Daniel Sedin want to be back for one more season at this point,” Chris Johnston reported during the Headlines intermission segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

“While there hasn’t been discussions yet, with the Canucks, about an extension, the belief is they each want to be back for an 18th NHL season.”

The Sedins have had the most successful Canucks careers ever. The only players in franchise history to score more than a thousand points, they should become the first career-Canucks to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame one day.

Despite the fact that the Sedins have finally been replaced on the first line this year, they’ve had very productive seasons. Henrik is on pace for 57 points, while Daniel is on pace for 54. Those totals would mark the second highest for Henrik and the third highest for Daniel since the Canucks were winning Presidents’ Trophies.

The twins weren’t given much ice time early in the season, with Travis Green deferring to Bo Horvat and Brandon Sutter’s lines. But since December 1, Henrik leads the Canucks in points, while Daniel is third.

The Sedins are in the last season of matching four-year contracts that each pay them $7 million per season. They likely won’t get that much on their next contract, though Joe Thornton (who is a year older than the twins) was able to get $8 million on a one-year contract from the San Jose Sharks this past offseason. Patrick Marleau (who is the same age as Thornton) received a three-year, $6.25 million AAV contract from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The twins don’t strike me as players that will try to take the team to the cleaners though, as they’ve already stated that they won’t play for anyone else.

“We’re going to take this year and appreciate everything about it, and never look too far ahead,” Daniel said in the Players’ Tribune at the start of the season. “Who knows, we might have a few more years left in us.”

It appears they’ll have at least one.

Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty is trying to focus on what he can control as opposed to the swirling trade rumors containing his name.

“You just live your life and worry about your family,” Pacioretty said, according to Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette. “If it happens, it happens. I’m very proud of the past success I’ve had in Montreal. I’ve played here for 10 years and I’ve never gone through something like this. I’ve gone through ups and downs, but never this low.”

Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported Saturday that the Canadiens were actively shopping Pacioretty, preferably for a younger goal-scorer.

Head coach Claude Julien says he has not discussed the rumors with Pacioretty – instead, the two have been talking about the 29-year-old’s game. Pacioretty has severely tailed off in recent weeks, having scored just once in his last 21 games.

“Rumors are rumors and why fuel the rumor by talking to him about a rumor,” Julien said. “You talk to him about his game and you work with him. As I say, a player will always be my player until he’s gone. Sometimes, I don’t know when that’s going to be, and sometimes he’s not going to be gone. … You have to be able to overcome that to be successful. In Max’s situation with all the rumors, he’s handling it well.”

In the meantime, Pacioretty is tasked with trying to get not just himself, but the entire team back on track. The Canadiens kick off the first of a five-game home stand Tuesday night and will look to snap a four-game losing streak.

On a day where the New York Islanders celebrated a landmark achievement in the long-term security of the franchise, its potential ripple effect on the not-so-distant future of the club’s most important player was predictably thrust into the forefront.

As the Isles’ ownership group officially announced the plan for a new arena at Belmont Park, returning the club to its roots and soon banishing the nightmare that is the Barclays Center, captain John Tavares was asked if the confirmation of the shiny new facility will be enough to make him stay.

“For my situation it’s really exciting news,” Tavares said, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday. “I’m not going to say it’s going to change or ultimately make my decision, but everything that’s involved in my daily life plays into it and going to the rink, playing games is a big part of that.”

Tavares is eligible to sign a contract extension at any point, and will officially become an unrestricted free agent if a deal isn’t reached by July 1.

The 27-year-old is doing his part to make sure he gets his worth, too, as he currently ranks third in the NHL with 42 points in 34 games this season.

Erik Karlsson is sticking to the business of playing hockey,

After shining in Saturday’s NHL100 Classic, the Ottawa Senators captain was forced to address remarks made by team owner Eugene Melnyk the night before, wherein relocation was suggested should the arena remain unfilled on a regular basis.

“That’s none of our business,” Karlsson told reporters after practice on Monday, per TSN. “That’s what he (Melnyk) worries about. We worry about playing hockey and that’s all we can control.

“We show up here every day and do the best that we can and what we do … There’s nothing I can do about that. Whatever he chooses to say is on him and we just worry about showing up wherever we’re told to every day.”

Having said that, Karlsson appears to be a fan of building a new rink closer to the city’s core.

“I do think it would be better for a rink downtown, just for commuting and you know there’s more people down there,” he explained. “It would be a cool experience to have a rink in downtown Ottawa since we have a beautiful city.

“I think this is a great market, it’s always treated me real well, whether things are going well or if things haven’t been going well.”

The outdoor win over Montreal improved Ottawa’s record to 11-13-7. The Senators sit six points behind Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division.